Recommended Cheese: Mango habanero cheddar
• How good can the Bulls young core be? Arturas Karnisovas seems to think the answer is pretty darn good. In his interview yesterday with the media, Chicago’s new vice president of basketball operations said “this group is too talented not to perform better.” Believe him? I think I do. At full health under a competent head coach, I thought and will continue to think this young group (White, LaVine, Markkanen, Carter Jr.) along with the supporting cast (Porter, Satoransky, Young, Gafford) has enough talent to compete for a playoff spot. Now, whether that be a borderline 8 seed or a solid 7 seed is hard to say. As this year demonstrated the bottom of the Eastern Conference is pretty messy, and even while the Bulls were engulfed in a full-fledged dumpster fire, they still were still within striking distance of playoff spot for about half the season. Again, health and quality leadership is key, but heading into 2020-21, I don’t see why this Bulls team couldn’t sneak into the playoffs.
• I’m not trying to suck anyone into the same optimistic trap some of us (myself included) fell into prior to this season. Please, by all means, be as pessimistic about this current roster as you want. I just still can’t get over a couple of the external factors that have certainly held this team back, including (1) the lack of an adequate head coach, (2) the inability to find true on-court leadership, (3) the sheer age of this roster, and (4) a frustrating number of injuries. To be clear, I never accept injuries as a worthy excuse; however, sometimes we can’t look past the chemistry problems that missed time can create. I mean, Carter Jr., Markkanen, and Porter have only played 147 career minutes together … that’s a problem. Karnisovas’ goal is to try and use this extended offseason to remove all these consistent problems to finally see what this team (mainly the younger players) are really capable of.
• Karnisovas also told reporters yesterday that he thinks the new Bulls front office is “ahead of the curve” when it comes to the 2020 NBA Draft. The organization has already interviewed and studied up on a handful of prospects, which is surely something to be excited about. A talent-evaluator at heart, I’m sure when Karnisovas hears there is an underwhelming draft, he becomes even more determined to find the diamond in the rough.
• Listen to the full Arturas Karnisovas press conference here.
• Jim Boylen isn’t gone yet, but that doesn’t mean Karnisovas and Marc Eversley aren’t already thinking about his replacement:
76ers’ Assistant Ime Udoka is Reportedly the Front-Runner to Replace Jim Boylen (But an Exhaustive Process This Will Be)https://t.co/b5oJArRdA5
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 6, 2020
• Speaking of Boylen, Tomas Satoransky apparently said he wants the guy to hang around:
Tomas Satoransky did an interview with Czech Television this morning, says he'll probably practice with Czech bb team USK Prague during offseason. Also says he hopes that him and Bulls coach Boylen "will continue together next season."
— Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow) June 6, 2020
• The other week in an interview with Eurohoops, Satoransky didn’t sound like the happiest camper with the way the team was run in 2019, so I would’ve loved to hear the context around this most recent comment. I’m just hesitant to think he’s fully on board the Boylen Bandwagon. Overall, I’d expect his comments to be much closer to what LaVine and Young said about Boylen the other day.
• Say it louder for the people in the back.
• Sign them all.
They set up a hoop on a school bus to dunk during the protest.
(via everybody_hatechriss/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/HFk6ob75kc
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 7, 2020